Shareholder Stewardship: A Case of (Re)Embedding Institutional Investors and the Corporation?
In Beate Sjåfjell and Christopher M. Bruner (eds), Cambridge Handbook of Corporate Law, Corporate Governance and Sustainability (Cambridge University Press, 2019), Chapter 41.
Posted: 8 May 2019 Last revised: 15 Jun 2020
Date Written: May 6, 2019
This chapter highlights the potential for national, international and EU stewardship developments to bring a ‘public’ coloration into investor-led governance. Departing from previous monolithic views that couch shareholder stewardship as a self-regulating, dis-embedded market mechanism solely protecting and enhancing shareholder primacy, the chapter applies a neo-Polanyian analytical framework and identifies shareholder stewardship as a policy counter-movement that operationalises socially responsible investing and environmental, social and governance investing through shareholder engagement. However, for current stewardship policies to engender fundamental behavioural changes in investment practices, some systematic regulatory intervention which will not result from bottom-up forces and market demand for investor-led norms is necessary. Ways to promote a strong sustainability approach to stewardship include the imposition of regulatory duties and mandatory disclosure regimes. The possibilities for regulatory alternatives may remain fluid, I argue, but it is important for the means of shareholder stewardship to meet its ends.
Keywords: institutional investors, shareholder stewardship, ESG, SRI, Polanyi
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